Promoting Good Governance.

ASUU STRIKE: My salary is N500,000, some professors earn more than that, says Fayemi

GOVERNOR Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State says no administration has done as much for Nigeria’s education sector as the Muhammadu Buhari administration, which is why the industrial action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is unnecessary and ill-advised.

Fayemi, who accompanied Buhari to Paris, France, said this during the President’s interaction with Nigerians resident in the country. He pointed out that ASUU cannot have all that it is demanding for, especially given that there are many challenges facing the federal government.

For instance, Fayemi said the average salary of lecturers in Nigeria has increased significantly and is almost at par with what he is being paid as a governor, all thanks to the Buhari-administration.

“Ask yourself what was the average wage in the university system before. A university professor earns more than me as a governor. My salary as a governor is N500,000. Most university professors earn about the same amount if not more,” Fayemi said.

“Yes, you may argue that there are other opportunities available, there are also other opportunities that are available that are not being taken advantage of by our academics. I can say a little bit about this because this is my terrain.

“I do not think that ASUU on its own strength can argue that the government has not done well. There is hardly any institution in Nigeria today, including states universities, that have not had the benefit of the intervention.

“It is either the government is building an auditorium or rehabilitating a laboratory or improving on students hostels in virtually all the universities as I speak to you. That’s what TETFUND does via their intervention funds. That again is not the complete solution.

“Can we add more resources to the education budget? Absolutely we can. But when you have competing needs, you cannot have everything that you want. And this is something ASUU needs to know.”

The current ASUU strike began on November 5 as the lecturers complained that FG was yet to fulfil an agreement it reached with the union in 2017. They also bemoaned the poor funding of the education sector, as well as the plan by the government to increase tuition fees across universities.

Speaking with journalists on Monday, November 12, one week after the commencement of the strike, ASUU National President, Biodun Ogunyemi, said even though the union had submitted a memorandum to the relevant government agencies on how to better fund universities, “nobody is talking about the items there except to say that they cannot meet the union’s demand because of the oil prices”.

“We have submitted the report of a joint committee to the minister; on how to generate funds to address the outstanding balance of N1.3 trillion. It is like the minister is not addressing issues raised and the recommendation in the report,” he said.

President Buhari is in France to take part in the Paris Peace Forum.

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